Friday, November 23, 2012

Any fool can run a retirement home but can they treat seniors with the respect they deserve?

In this country, retirement homes are now governed by the new Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority  and the corresponding act. Retirement homes are scrambling to meet requirements, just as long-term care must meet the requirements of

Any fool can open a for-profit retirement home, and the new legislation is intended to protect residents. The trick is to allow seniors as much independence as possible, giving them the ability to do for themselves as much as possible, and assisting with ADLs when necessary. We must treat our seniors with dignity and respect, not as children we must control and babysit.

Previously, residents of retirement home were only recognised as tenants, whereas residents of long-term care are supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, with rigid guidelines, and a Bill of Rights for residents. Now, residents in retirement homes have a ResidentsBill of Rights - Retirement Homes (PDF)
15 Apr 2012 – FACT SHEET: ResidentsBill of Rights. Introduction. The Retirement Homes Act, 2010 (Act) is new legislation for the retirement home sector in ...

Retirement Homes
Learn about new protections for retirement home residents and how to report abuse in a retirement home.
To file a report of harm or risk of harm to a resident in a retirement home, call the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority at 1-855-ASK-RHRA (1-855-275-7472).

Unfortunately, with most retirement homes being for-profit, and many controlled by a US-based chain, and a foreign head office, protocols can be rigid and defined, with residents being treated equally whether they have biopsychosocial issues and their mobility intact, or whether they face life limiting health issues. Retirement homes are also, however, residential tenancies and therefore must also comply with the provisions of Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 17 (RTA).

Of course, the government assures us that the new act, (Read the Act on e-laws), and authority, Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), will protect all. This is surely not the case. As with all group care, individuals cannot be treated equally, as many have their independence, and others unable to feed, or toilet themselves. Family member can be afraid of reporting abuse. In fact, fewer are abused as mistreated or misinformed by poorly trained personal support workers (PSW) who do not have the education of a nurse. Many residents do not have friends or family, or those who are able to advocate for them.

Retirement Homes Act, 2010
: Legislation and associated regulations:
Retirement Homes Act, 2010English   French
Ontario Regulation 166/11: GeneralEnglish   French
Ontario Regulation 53/12: General (Amending Regulation 166/11)English   French

The Ontario government recently proclaimed regulations under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 allowing the RHRA to open for licensing on April 15, 2012. Further information can be found here.
A Plain-Language Guide and other educational materials on the Act and regulations are available here.

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